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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Freezer - Chest or Upright - Why Have One?


I originally thought that a separate freezer in addition to the freezer in my refrigerator was overkill, but I was quickly converted. When I bought an ice cream shop I "inherited" a chest freezer which I needed to store additional ice cream during the busy months. Whilst most refrigerators have freezers, to make real $$$$ savings I think you do need an additional freezer, the size determined by the size of your family. And the thing is freezers are relatively cheap.

I initially started putting the odd item aside when I noticed meat was on special at our local supermarket. Over time I started taking more notice as to when different cuts of meat that I liked were on special. I would purchase 4-5 lb of meat, break it into meal size portions for the family, and stick them in the freezer. I put the type and cut of meat and date of purchase on each pack with a permanent marker to ensure that the meat was used in the order purchased.

As time went on I became curious as to the amount of money I was spending on meat, the quality of meat I was purchasing and if I was actually saving any money. After collecting data for 12 months I came to the following conclusions:

I was saving large amounts of $$$ annually. Now I never purchase meat unless it is on special. Every week supermarkets have some meat on special and I just wait until they have the meat I prefer.

I'm eating better quality meat compared to what I was eating prior to having the freezer. I don't buy cheaper cuts of meat now only the better cuts. I also buy ravioli, tortellini etc when on special and freeze into meal size portions.

I'm eating healthier meals. I now take that night's meal out of the freezer in the morning prior to going to work. If I forget I just defrost in the microwave. I find I am now planning meals in advance, and so taking away the fast food option that I would previously rely on.

In our freezer we have a selection of four different meats - chicken thigh fillets, rump or scotch fillet steak, pork and lamb. We also have some sausages, fish and always have some bacon. Any odd pieces of meat we have which don't make a complete meal are just put aside and eventually make up a mixed grill. If mince is on special I'll make up a big batch of Bolognese or chili sauce and have meals available for when I don't feel like cooking. I also freeze bread and bread rolls until required.
Over time we've tried so many different things in our freezer. Basically you can freeze nearly all vegetables, although they don't have as long a frozen life as meat. Check out the paperwork that came with the freezer to find out how long each item may be frozen before it spoils. Having said that I haven't had to throw anything away due to spoilage.

What I would suggest is get into the habit of looking at the weekly specials brochure your local supermarket distributes and buy meat and other things you like to eat when they're on special - every week they have some meat etc on special. You'll find that, if you buy 4-5 lbs of your favorite meat when it's on special, you will save lots of money in the long-term.

You can also freeze all sorts of cakes, casseroles and soups.

Give it a go, you will be surprised.

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